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Big Companies Experiencing The Joys And Heartaches Of The Antitrust Underdog

Posted  02/15/10
Can antitrust law protect big companies as well as small companies and consumers? An increasing number of large companies are discovering – as plaintiffs – that the answer is yes. Many practitioners ascribe to the following paradigm: Antitrust enforcement is an anathema to large companies.  They point to the fact that big companies, like Microsoft, AT&T and Verizon, have repeatedly fought private plaintiffs...

Should Manhattan Hospitals Prepare For Outbreak Of Monopolization?

Posted  02/10/10
St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan may have survived its recent brush with possible monopolization, but its financial health leaves it susceptible to relapse.  That’s the diagnosis of some antitrust practitioners, who are bracing for another outbreak. The weak financial health of St. Vincent's Hospital has been in the news lately.  News reports indicate that St. Vincent's, located on Manhattan’s West 12th...

DOJ And NCAA May Face Off In Antitrust Bowl

Posted  02/9/10
The U.S. Department of Justice is weighing whether to pursue an investigation into the legality of the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") Bowl Championship Series ("BCS"), which critics contend unfairly excludes smaller universities from the national football title. Senator Orrin Hatch raised the issue in a letter to the Justice Department in October 2009 in which he complained that the BCS system is...

New Merger Guidelines Could Tell Economists: Drop That Hypothetical Can Opener

Posted  02/4/10
Federal antitrust enforcers are signaling that they don’t want merger enforcement to be the butt of the classic joke about the shipwrecked economist who solves the problem of how to open a can of soup by assuming a can opener.  Merger justifications that assume hypothetical competitors would block anticompetitive effects may not pass the laugh test under new Merger Guidelines. Antitrust enforcers are likely to...

Obama DOJ Makes Ticketmaster Work For Its Ticket To Ride With Live Nation

Posted  01/28/10
Although Ticketmaster’s got a ticket to ride with its merger target, Live Nation, the ticket vendor is finding that the price of a ticket for a merger has gone up in the Obama Administration. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice forced Ticketmaster this week to take actions to achieve antitrust clearance of its merger with Live Nation.  Among other things, Ticketmaster was compelled to...

The Antitrust Class Action Comes To Italy

Posted  01/13/10
Italian consumer rights group Codacons has filed class action lawsuits against Italy’s two largest banks – Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP.MI) and UniCredit SpA (UCG.MI) – for banking fees paid by more than 25 million customers. The cases are the first to be brought under a new law permitting class action suits in Italian courts, and could force the two banks to pay up to 6.25 billion Euros (approximately nine...

Will The DOJ’s Holiday Greeting To The EC Bring Holiday Cheer?

Posted  12/29/09
The DOJ’s Antitrust Division has sent the European Commission a holiday greeting that appears designed to mollify the EC after a DOJ statement last month that the EC viewed as a lump of coal in its Christmas stocking. “The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division commends the efforts of the European Commission …”  These were the opening words of a surprising statement issued by Assistant Attorney General...

Antitrust Issues Keeping Coffee Executives Awake

Posted  12/28/09
If coffee executives can’t sleep at night, it isn’t the coffee, it’s the antitrust issues. Coffee companies around the world are working through the holiday season, contending with merger issues in the U.S. and price fixing in Europe. In the U.S., Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. has voluntarily withdrawn its filing with the FTC regarding its purchase of Diedrich Coffee Inc. after consultation with the...

Connecticut AG Eyes UnitedHealthcare-Health Net Merger

Posted  12/21/09
While consideration of health care may be dominating the halls of Congress, state officials are reminding health insurers that the Feds don’t have a monopoly in regulation. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced that his office is investigating the merger of UnitedHealthcare and Health Net Inc. UnitedHealthcare agreed in July to pay approximately $510 million to buy Health Net’s...

Sirius XM Radio Subscriber Attacks Merger, Claiming Prices Now Go To 11

Posted  12/17/09
A subscriber in Florida is suing Sirius XM Radio, challenging the 2008 merger of the two satellite radio services with allegations of deceptive and excessive pricing. The private suit claims that despite the commitments Sirius and XM made to the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission as a condition of merger approval, the combined firm has raised prices above competitive levels. Both the...
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